First Solo Trip to Leh/Ladakh on my Bullet in Jun-2012

jkpaswan

Long Rider
Yea its too late to write about my 2 year old trip, but I guess saying is right, late is better then never.
I am missing Leh again, and I'm writing this in his memories. At the time I am planning my next dream trip to Leh. Not sure if I could make it this year or not but, I would do it soon.

I'll be updating this place thread with details and pics from this trip.
My Trip Plan Jun 15-2012 to 26-Jun-2012:

Day - 1 - Delhi -Chandigarh-Manali
Day -2 - Manali- Jispa
Day-3 - Jispa - Leh
Day-4 - Rest & Look around in the market
Day-5 - Alchi and Nearby
Day-6 - Pangkong Lake and Night Stay
Day-7 - Marsikmi La - and Back to Leh
Day-8 - Local Shoping and take rest for return journey
Day -9 - Leh to Drass
Day-10 - Drass - SriNagar
Day-11 - Sri Nagar to Chandigarh ( Don't do it, not worth it stretching too much. )



Day-1

I stated my Trip on Jun-17 from Delhi (Noida) mid night 00:30 AM.

Yeah it was summer and too hot. I'm belong to Pinjore, Near by Chandigarh. So I was well known to this route and night drive is just fine on this route.

Following stuff I needed to pack on load on my bike

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After loading everything, dont worry about the oil I just put some extra oil on chain :)
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This is when I started from Chandigarh.

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On the way
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I reached Chandigarh at 04:30 AM, and I stayed over my friend place, slept till 9, got up had break fast in sector 22 and bought one cotton trouser for riding as my weather resistance trouser was very hot. I was not feeling comfortable on that.
In pic I'm wearing that one only.

From Chandigarh to Manali trip very tough as it was so hot. I was lucky , as after Kiratpur, when we take turn toward Manali, usually people get stuck in traffic caused by Cement Factory., but at my time it was just small traffic.
Till Kullu weather was very hot, but later it getting better and better.

Crossing Kullu was also difficult because of traffic Jam. I reached Manali around 8:00 PM.
Checkout few hotels and finally packed myself in some decent, place and Paid Rs. 600 for one night.

Day-2
Initially I thought of starting in the early morning to cut the traffic, But the way I started from Delhi in the night, there is no point my body would able to do that. I slept till 11:00 AM.
I slowly started my day with Tea and had good lunch.

2nd day journey started at 12:30 PM. When I the Rohatang Pass Road stuck in traffic for 1-2 hours. But luckily traffic was moving at slow speed, and cross rohatang pass around 03:30.

Till rohtang there was lot or people taxies, everything, I was thinking whats going on, I was'nt expecting them. When I was reading Leh road is completely empty, kind of no men land.
Also before this trip, I never saw the Snow in my life,. In Rohatang when I first time looked at the snow or snow I felt these are some stones as lots of dirt had covered them. But when placed my leg then I re aliased its the snow.

Anyways, Rohtang wasn't the impressive to me, I wanted to see the landscape and tough roads rivers, snow but I was looking to lots of tourist or cars etc. etc.
But once I crossed it, I started realizing, I have the knocked the door of heaven.
Start seeing clear sky, no sounds other then wind, no person other than me, ye occasionally some biker cross over. Oh that's what I wanted. Filled up tank in Tandi, and soon after 6 PM I reached Jispa,

I had booked a room in Padama Guest house already so it just unloaded freshen up and start looking around.

Had very good dinner Mutton, Rice Salads, Rotis, Still I can remember the taste.
While I was planning Leh trip, couple of my friend told you would get noodles only and Seriously in this whole trip I did not need to eat noodles, but most of the mutton or rice daal. Yes I had momos with noodles. But pretty much I got good things to eat and my tummy also did not complaint at all.

I spoke with people at the Padama guest house, also met couple of riders, and few tourist going to leh on taxi's. While I was talking to Guest house staff, I was appreciating what I saw after Rohatang, and they toild me just drive one hour from Jispa you would see the real snow and beauty.

Day-3

I not a early bird, next day trip is 12 hours long, noway I could delay. Got up at 05:15 basically got reminder from guess house for hot water and freshen up , had break fast and ready to ride at 06:30.

Exactly at 06:30 I was on my way to Leh.

What happened and what I saw will update soon ...
 
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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day- 3
12 Hours drive from Jispa to Leh was awesome. Person who never saw snow in his life seeing snow, huge mountains range, beautiful landscape it just amazing.
I was alone, and every other minutes smiles was coming on face by looking at the heaven.

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Everywhere I could see just amazing creation of God.
I am sure in my words, I can't explain. but i felt like heave.

Reached safely to Leh exactly at 06:30 PM.
Unexpectedly One of my friend Neeraj Saini, was already there, he went on his cycle.
He is guy who also inspired me to do Solo trip.

I booked a home stay Changspa iteself.

Day-4 & Day-5

I kept it for my rest day and get used to with high altitude. I was checkout around the Leh market and Shanti Stupa, Alchi Monestory, Megnetic Hill, Patther Saheb.

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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day-6 Pangkong lake

Got up around 8 am, and started journey toward Pangkong lake at 09:30 AM.
At patrol station I met few rider bhai, whom I met somewhere in Delhi. I had some company till Pangkong lake.

One of the fellow rider almost fell into the small river crossing our road. He did not observer the water passing and which way you should drive through. He simply trying to cross it and stuck because of on big stone under the water and his front Tyre hit that.
Whenever I saw water crossing road, I stop there, remove my shades, observe carefull, and try to figure from which side I should be driving. I always cross this river slowly and without fearing water would touch my feet or not. I have full protection cover on my shoe, even if it is not there I dont care, get wet was ok then falling into water.
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I stayed in tent and had very good mutton, rice, eggs, salad, daal.
Met one family came from Bangalore at dinner time,and shared memories on the trip.

Even I met some group came from my office, from different department and drive back together back to Leh. It seems small world :).

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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day-7 Marsikmik La

Hmm hear a lot, people told me dont go alone, you would get stuck in sand or snow. It non-motor-able. Too high sometime bike get stall there, you might get breathing issue in case fallen down, possibly wont get up.

Anyways, I was in Leh first time, I read about Marsikmik La. It impresses me a lot. I was here to to see Marsikmila. Once I was done with it, I felt like my trip is over, I have done it for what I came here.
Off course I was new to leh and trip of this kind, I know one thing, and I did that one.

I got at 05:30am and was ready to hit around 06:30. Reached near to Marsikla around 08:30 or 09:30.
spent 2 hours with Army men. Met one Big army officer he told me after Marsikmila he has to drive at aleast 6 more hours to reach the post and only army people are allowed after Marsikmila.

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This was just awesome.

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While coming back from Marsikmila, I came back to Pangkong to have one more look as it was so beautiful.
I had lunch there and started my journey back to Leh.
It was around 2 PM. Not its tough to drive on this this road. Snow was melting and water started coming on the road. Water crossing roads was bit deep then yesterday.
I can see water coming from hills to the road as I was progress toward leh.
It was tough and I recalled while I was planning Leh trip, there was suggestion, driving 2 pm going be tough and better avoid if you can.

I got sun burn, my lips were completely dry, some place I felt its summer like delhi and some place I felt its shimla weather.
Anyways around 6-7 PM i reached back to Leh safely at my hotel.

I rested for next day, went to temple shanti stupa one more time, spent 2-3 hours and felt very relaxed.

Now I need to prepare for my back journey. Initially I thought I would come back from Same route. But as it was first time, so thought covering the cricle and let see the Zozila pass. Although I enjoyed more on the Manali-Leh side.
 
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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day-8

Rested so I could get ready for my return journey. Instead of taking same way Leh-Manali Highway I decided to take Leh-Srinagar highway, thinking to see Zozila Pass as well.

But most enjoyable route is Manali one. After Kargil , all the traffic start irritate you.

Roam around in the Leh market, purchased Pashina for my mom from Govt shop, which I think most reliable for a person who never purchased it :)

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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day-9 Leh-Drass

Started my return journey around 11 AM and reach Kargil. Reach Kargil around 05:30PM. It was my initial plan but I did not find good place to stay at Kargil, either too expensive or too dirty. So decided to go further till Drass. It turn out to be the best one.

I reached there around 08:30 PM and got get settled down in PWD guest house by paying just 200/-.

Met some more fellow riders and one local Uncle, who gave company for dinner and talked a about nearby area. Guided me further route to Sri Nagar and further to take bypass road to Pathankot from Udhampur.
It very helpful information.

In next morning he gave me company to visit Kargil Memorial park in Drass also. Its worth stopping at Drass.

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jkpaswan

Long Rider
Day-10 - Drass to Srinagar

In morning after having breakfast, I visited Kargil Memorial Park. Being there is totally different feeling.

I spent almost 1 hour there had tea with Army people, and try to understand the Kargil fight bit closer.

Came back loaded by bags on my bike, exchange no. and started the next journey.

From Drass, I observed two bikers are following me very closely. They are not overtaking even if I try them giving pass. It was very uncomfortable when some stranger just follow you.

I stopped and had conversation with them. Basically they were doing a tail driving. They said you were driving well so they start following me. Road conditions wasn't that good so it was helping them to avoid potholes etc.
I also found out that were also going to delhi after finishing their Leh trip. So we started driving together and still we are in touch through Facebook and phone.

But this group driving has changed my whole plan. My idea was to stop nearby Patni Top so next morning I can start my last driving day but in group things go slow. Also these two friends was really tired and they were planning to drive till Jammu and later catch train or Bus to reach delhi.
I got to now but later but it was too late.
B
ut it also turn out to be good as I stayed in Srinagar, watched Dal Lake, had yummy Real Mutton Rogan Josh. Taste was so good and not expensive. We spent 500+ rs. for all three of us.

We stayed in Boat house. It wasn't good idea, but we wanted to try it out.
Staying in Boat house which hardly move, and for everything you are depended on them to take to market side picks you up. Before renting us they said whatever no. of time you wanted to the market they would take you but after renting they were not that friendly and after 10 PM they won't pick up or drive.

But it was different experience over there, but people like us who carried lots of bags etc. should not be good idea. We had tough time to bring bags to boat house and take them back.

Srinagar is worth spending time to see lots of garden and city, But only issue that I felt locals people are frustrated with lots issue with terrorism and curfews. We can sense some sort of tense faces. Army in the market to secure the area.

Srinagar was with full tourists in Month of Jun and we had tough time find good place to settled down before we opt for Boat house.

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Day-11 Srinagar to Chandigarh.

We had good sleep. But next morning we got with bad news.
Boat owner told us we should leave as early as possible because chances are high that Srinagar get into curfew as in early morning there was one 200yrs old historical Muslim religious place been burned, which is close to Dal lake as well.

Even we saw Fire department truck filling water from Dal Lake to control the fire. Also weather also cloudy and expecting some rains in the morning.

We quickly start preparing ourselves for last lag of journey.

By 9 AM we were all set to hit the road. Target was to reach Jammu, where my idea was to reach Chandigarh if my body allow me.



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My last click on this trip with Boat owner in the morning.

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Our start was good, but traffic was too much and rains. Every city we cross has the traffic jam.
Traffic was too much because of Amarnath Yatra as well. Driving sense of that area wasn't good.
Nearby Patni top some drunker was also driving, specially locals people taxi driver just driving really rash and hardly care about turns and and traffic from other side.

I reach Udhampur around 05:30 PM, now weather is totally changed, too warm, full summer and more straight road. I had full energy in me to drive to Chandigarh or I was too tired to get settle down in any hotel.

Now I needed a full rest which I could only get in home. I took some rest, some snacks. Two fellow rider try to figure out some Volvo bus to reach delhi.

I wanted to reach Pathankot or Lakhimpur before it get darks. From that place I had seen the road and drove couple of time. I also worked in Ludhiana, and during that I had pulser on which I cover this stretch first time. Before Leh Trip, I had been to Vishnu Devi from Delhi on my bike. So I was pretty much well aware about the road.
In case I had drive in night I won't need anyone's help to find out route. From Dasua to Hoshiyarpur-chandigarh road is single lane, but well equipped with Night marker so driving should not be an issue.

But Pathankot was 133 KM from Udhampur and it's already 05:30 PM. Road was good but this was last unknown road.
Around 06:00 PM I made my mind to reach Pathankot have dinner and decide to reach Chandigarh or get settled down in some Motel.

This stretch was very beautiful, had very less traffic and going through with some small villages, some hilly area and big rails brides getting build. These bridges were at very high, not like we used to in anywhere else India, kind of attaching one tunnel to other on the high hill. Assume the double the hight of Metro rail track bridges.

I was just 7 km Lakhimpur if i get through over the Dam which was getting build, but after 7 PM it get closed. I reached there at 07:15 PM.
They guided me alternative route which would take 22KM from where I touch down the highway.

This route had smaller road, winding , no one driving on that road, In night you would not see anyone, very scary and sometime you feel you tool the wrong diversion.
And its dark too now. It took 2 hours to cross this stretch. But this route at some places you can see the Dam, getting build some lights were shining making it beautiful to watch. But whatever happens I am not going to stop here.

09:15 PM I reached Lakhimpur check post and I was on the Highway, just I needed to drive some more so I could reach Punjabi Dhaba and I started feeling hungry too.

I stopped there for a while for stutta and started driving towards Pathankot.
Its highway, double road, wide well makers for night driving. For next 2 hours kept on driving when my tommy started to crying for food.
I stopped at one big Dhaba and had tasty Dall Makhni with Tandori roti. I still feel that punjabi taste. I loved it.
I am back with full energy and after 45 minutes I was ready to hit the road again.
This time I was nearby Dasua. I started around 11:30 and touched down Chandighar at 02 to 02:30 AM.
From Dasua, I needed to take one important diversion, which was hard to find in the night, somehow I managed to find.

I was little scared as I never this route in the night but in day time. It single road two way traffic. Not sure if that road had the Night Marker on road.

But when I hit road, which seems smaller when we take diversion, but just after 500 Mtrs its get wider, welcome board and distance board.
Everything was bright clear, both side night marker/reflectors, middle white line road marker, trees has red and yellow markers.

On turns Red markers, clearly visible and helping me to drive well. I was happy to see them and all my fear was gone.
Not much traffic. on this road you would cross 5-6 Toll booths so I stopped at tool booth area to drink water and relax a bit.

But as I was closer, I was getting my energy back to reach home Safely.
My average driving was 90Km/hr.
I stopped in chandigarh to have smoke one last cigarette as in home no one knows at that time I smoke :).

Finally reached my home Pinjore, Haryana, at 03:00 AM.

I was feeling Wonderfull, Leh trip was over I have lots memories, and I reached back with my all bones, which my friends and family was concerned as its so deadliest road, and I am going Solo not even in group.

But internally, I was confident I could do it, I had well prepared physically and mentally, Spending time in gym has given me lots of strength.

I collected most of the information BCM Touring Site, and googled, discussed with experienced friends. Thanks.

This is one milestone of my life, couple more are on the way. Surely Leh would be coming few more times, I am not yet done with it.
 
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